Mt. Sinai

For the Biblical Mount Sinai, and a discussion of its possible locations, see Biblical Mount Sinai.
For other places with the same name, see Mount Sinai (disambiguation).
Mount Sinai (Jabal Mūsá)
Summit of Mount Sinai
Elevation 2,285 m (7,497 ft)
Location
Location Saint Catherine, South Sinai Governorate, Egypt
Coordinates

28°32′23″N 33°58′24″E / 28.53972°N 33.97333°E / 28.53972; 33.97333Coordinates: 28°32′23″N 33°58′24″E / 28.53972°N 33.97333°E / 28.53972; 33.97333


Mount Sinai (Arabic: طور سيناءṬūr Sīnāʼ  or جبل موسى Jabal Mūsá ; Egyptian Arabic: Gabal Mūsa, lit. "Moses' Mountain" or "Mount Moses"; Hebrew: הר סיניHar Sinai ), also known as Mount Horeb, is a mountain in the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt that is the traditional and most accepted identification of the biblical Mount Sinai. The latter is mentioned many times in the Book of Exodus in the Torah, the Bible,[1] and the Quran.[2] According to Jewish, Christian and Islamic tradition, the biblical Mount Sinai was the place where Moses received the Ten Commandments.

Geography

Mount Sinai is a 2,285-metre (7,497 ft) high mountain near Saint Catherine in the Sinai region. It is next to Mount St. Catherine (at 2,629 m or 8,625 ft, the highest peak in Egypt).[3] It is surrounded on all sides by higher peaks of the mountain range.

Geology

Mount Sinai's rocks were formed in the late stage of the Arabian-Nubian Shield's (ANS) evolution. Mount Sinai displays a ring complex[4] that consists of alkaline granites intruded into diverse rock types, including volcanics. The granites range in composition from syenogranite to alkali feldspar granite. The volcanic rocks are alkaline to peralkaline and they are represented by subaerial flows and eruptions and subvolcanic porphyry. Generally, the nature of the exposed rocks in Mount Sinai indicates that they originated from different depths.

Religious significance


Main articles: Biblical Mount Sinai and Saint Catherine's Monastery, Mount Sinai

The biblical Mount Sinai was one of the most important sacred places in the Abrahamic religions.

According to Bedouin tradition, it was the mountain where God gave laws to the Israelites. However, the earliest Christian traditions place this event at the nearby Mount Serbal, at the foot of which a monastery was founded in the 4th century; it was only in the 6th century that the monastery moved to the foot of Mount Catherine, following the guidance of Josephus's earlier claim that Sinai was the highest mountain in the area. Josephus, however, declared that Mt. Sinai was 'the highest of the mountains' in the region of 'the city of Madiane' -- or Maydan, in NW Arabia, across the 'Gulf of Aqaba.' Jebel Musa, which is adjacent to Mount Catherine (Egypt), was equated with Sinai, by Christians, only after the 15th century.

Orthodox Christians settled upon this mountain in the third century AD. Georgians from the Caucasus moved to the Sinai Peninsula in the Fifth Century, and a Georgian colony was formed there in the Ninth Century. Georgians erected their own churches in the area of the modern Mount Sinai. The construction of one such church was connected with the name of David The Builder, who contributed to the erecting of churches in Georgia and abroad as well. There were political, cultural, & religious motives for locating the church on Mount Sinai. Georgian monks living there were deeply connected with their motherland. The church had its own plots in Kartli. Some of the Georgian manuscripts of Sinai remain there, but others are kept in Tbilisi, St. Petersburg, Prague, New York, Paris, or in private collections.


Some modern biblical scholars now believe that the Israelites would have crossed the Sinai peninsula in a direct route, rather than detouring to the southern tip (assuming that they did not cross the eastern branch of the Red Sea/Reed Sea in boats or on a sandbar), and therefore look for the biblical Mount Sinai elsewhere.

The Song of Deborah, which some textual scholars consider to be one of the oldest parts of the bible, suggests that Yahweh dwelt at Mount Seir, so many scholars favour a location in Nabatea (modern Arabia). Alternatively, the biblical descriptions of Sinai can be interpreted as describing a volcano, and so a small number of scholars have considered equating Sinai with locations in northwestern Saudi Arabia; there are no volcanoes in the Sinai Peninsula.

UNESCO World Heritage Site
Saint Catherine Area
Name as inscribed on the World Heritage List
Type Cultural
Criteria i, iii, iv, vi
Reference UNESCO region Arab States
Inscription history
Inscription 2002 (26th Session)

St. Catherine's Monastery

(Greek: Μονὴ τῆς Ἁγίας Αἰκατερίνης) lies on the Sinai Peninsula, at the mouth of an inaccessible gorge at the foot of modern Mount Sinai in St. Catherine city in Egypt at an elevation of 1550 meters. The monastery is Greek Orthodox and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. According to the UNESCO report (60100 ha / Ref: 954) and website hereunder, this monastery has been called the oldest working Christian monastery in the world – although the Monastery of Saint Anthony, situated across the Red Sea in the desert south of Cairo, also lays claim to that title.

Ascent

There are two principal routes to the summit. The longer and shallower route, Siket El Bashait, takes about 2.5 hours on foot, though camels can be used. The steeper, more direct route (Siket Sayidna Musa) is up the 3,750 "steps of penitence" in the ravine behind the monastery.[5]

Summit


The summit of the mountain has a mosque that is still used by Muslims. It also has a Greek Orthodox chapel, constructed in 1934 on the ruins of a 16th-century church, that is not open to the public. The chapel encloses the rock which is considered to be the source for the biblical Tablets of Stone.[6] At the summit also is "Moses' cave", where Moses was said to have waited to receive the Ten Commandments.

View from the summit of Mount Sinai

See also

Notes

External links

  • Caucasian Albanian Alphabet Discovered and Deciphered, Azerbaijan International, Vol. 11:3 (Autumn 2003). Six articles.
  • Mount Sinai)
  • Information about the town of St. Katherine and the Sinai mountains
  • Photo album from Mount Sinai and St Catherine's
  • Contains many photos of two alleged sites, and some research.
  • A Report on Mount Sinai

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